There is little opportunity to show your work and mingle with fellow creatives. If you make art, there are many artist-run spaces to get involved with in the city; musicians of almost any genre can find an audience and a place to play gigs. For graphic designers, the only outlet for public presentation of their creative endeavours, be they commercial or personal, is online. Design exhibitions are a rare occurrence.
The internet is overflowing with examples of amazing work, so it can feel pretty scary to put yourself out there, alongside the pros. And uploading the results of your blood, sweat and tears to websites like Behance doesn't guarantee that anyone will actually look at it. If your project does attract attention and admiration, the most constructive feedback you are likely to get is ‘I love it,’ ‘wow,’ or a love heart emoticon. The lack of critical discussion is an ongoing problem in the design community, which is exacerbated by the fact that most of the related activity occurs online.
Speed Dating for Graphic Designers, a Semi-Permanent sideline event organised by SparkLab as part of their focus on design and art this month, gives young designers a rare opportunity to get invaluable feedback on their work. There will be 20 industry professionals ready to dish out honest and helpful feedback over two hours. The evening will pan out in true speed-dating style, the participants frequently switching seats to get the most out of the available advice. It's free to take part, but places are strictly limited to 60 graphic design students or graduates, so be sure to sign up quick.